The first Belgian institute dedicated to organic farming
This new facility in Belgium will be dedicated to research and training aimed at restoring the organic health of soils and promoting organic agriculture.
The Belgian Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and Agroecology (BRIOAA) has just been established on the former Upigny farm in Éghezée in the province of Namur. The BRIOAA is a real open-air laboratory covering 60 hectares and will first allow agronomy students interested in organic agriculture to refine their studies at the practical level.
It will work in synergy with other research centres such as the Walloon Agricultural Research Centre, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech and the ULB. This new Belgian institute will also be dedicated to providing organic agriculture training to private farmers wanting to convert to 100% organic production.
The main objective is to promote agricultural techniques that favour the conservation of both soil and the environment. Because over recent decades, a great deal of land has been impoverished because of intensive agriculture with a high level of chemical fertilisers.
Diversification is therefore encouraged within the plots used by BRIOAA. Different varieties of an ancient wheat are sown that are more resistant to climatic hazards. Cereals (barley, oats) and legumes (peas, beans) are also grown together. And care is taken to let tall grass grow between each plot as a refuge for local wildlife while reducing rainwater runoff.
After an increase from 3% to 12% organic farmland over the last two decades, the stated objective is to reach 30% by 2030!